The Charity Commission has warned that it is now taking longer to register a charity after a record number of new applications.
“Our registration team is currently experiencing extremely high demand for its services,” the regulator said in a statement. “In the last year we have seen a record number of new applications for charity registrations, and demand continues to rise.”
The regulator said this had increased response times from the target of nine weeks up to 12 weeks, and apologised to charities for any inconvenience caused.
The Commission said it has seen significant growth in registration over a number of years, driven largely by the popularity of the new Charitable Incorporated Organisation form, which accounts for three-fifths of new applications, up by nearly 10 per cent compared to last year.
“The Commission has seen a huge increase in the number of applications to register a charity in the last few years,” a spokeswoman for the regulator said. “In 2016/17 there were a record 8,368 applications, compared to 5,949 in 2012/13. The number of applications continues to rise.”
The regulator said it has a new automated system which is saving time.
“Our new automated service has helped us speed up the registration process and reduce the average time it takes to register a charity by three working days,” the Commission said, “despite registering 17 per cent more charities than the previous year.
“However, the continued substantial increase in the volume of applications combined with the Commission’s stretched resources means that we are currently experiencing delays in dealing with new registration applications.
“We have completed a restructure of the registration team to help us deal with the additional demand and we hope to be able to clear the excess unallocated cases and return to our standard registration response times within the next two to three months.”